NHL Again Seeks Dismissal of Former Players’ Spouses’ Claims

Last week, the NHL filed a new memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss the wrongful death and loss of consortium claims brought by the spouses of ex-players in December 2015. These claims were tacked on to the players’ master amended complaint at the end of last year, which was filed in the MDL case in Minnesota, to deal with issues of concussions and other head-related injuries, as well as the long-term effects players’ suffered over their careers.

The NHL had supplemented its pending motion to dismiss in January, arguing the entire complaint should be thrown out because the claims are preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act. This time around, the NHL added to its argument by claiming the spouses and players lack standing to assert their causes of action. In its motion, the league argues that the former players do not have standing to bring the wrongful death and loss of consortium claims because none of the players in the multidistrict litigation themselves have personally suffered the type of injury requisite for those claims. Typically, it is the family members or the estate of a person who brings those types of action.

The NHL originally filed its motion to dismiss the entire case in November 2014, just a few months after it was originally consolidated in Minnesota federal court. No time frame has yet been established for Judge Nelson to rule on the dismissal motion, as her original anticipated date of February 2015 has since been indefinitely postponed while the two parties continue with an immense discovery period — a period which the League has argued has cost it “millions of unnecessary dollars.”

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